Wolfgang Metzger

Wolfgang Metzger

Wolfgang Metzger (born July 22, 1899 in Heidelberg , Germany ; died December 20, 1979 in Bebenhausen , Germany ) is considered one of the leading representatives of Gestalt psychology (Gestalt theory) in Germany.

Metzger’s most widely acclaimed work is Psychology: Die Entwicklung ihrer Grundannahmen seit der Einführung Experiments (Psychology: The development of basic principles since the introduction of the experimental method). It portrays systematically the foundations of psychology, including the different kinds of psychological reality, the problems associated with reference systems, order, and much more. Pivotal in its discussions is the cumulative knowledge, at that time, of the entire Gestalt school.


Metzger was a student and associate of the Berlin School of Gestalt theory, Max Wertheimer , Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka . Metzger became Max Wertheimer’s assistant in Frankfurt / Main in the 1930s and his successor when the Nazis forced Wertheimer out. Early in the 1940s Metzger became chairman at Münster , a position he held until his retirement.

Wolfgang Metzger joined the SA in 1933, and became a member of the NSDAP in 1937. [1]

The early major work Gesetze des Sehens (Laws of Seeing) first appeared in serial issues, edited by the Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft in Frankfurt. Expanded editions were printed in 1936, 1954, and 1975. In this work Metzger supplemented his collection of phenomena from everyday perception and the fine arts, always endeavoring to find more compelling illustrations for the Gestalt point of view. As Heinz Heckhausen has pointed out this work is a masterpiece for those who come with an intense background in the psychology of perception; in a nontechnical style Metzger moves the reader towards a deeper experience, and sometimes an altered conception, of the visual world.

Following World War II Metzger is increasing the importance of these topics, especially those having to do with child-rearing, classroom education, and psychotherapy. His guiding principles applied in thesis Endeavors Were Developed In His last two books, Schöpferische Freiheit (freedom Productive, 1949, 1962) and Psychology in der Erziehung (Psychology in Education, 1971). Gestalt psychology with its assumption of a natural, nonforced order in nature, which makes it easier to make observations on the subject of a theme of freedom among the goals of education. Metzger became eventually an outspoken advocate of Adlerianpsychology with which he had become acquainted with Berlin by Fritz Künkel and later through Oliver Brachfeld who was in Münster from 1960 to 1965. Together with Brachfeld he founded in 1964 the German Alfred Adler Society which became the German Society for Individual Psychology .

Metzger was president of the 16th International Congress for Psychology in 1960 in Bonn . From 1962 until 1964, he was president of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie . He was also highly committed to activities associated with his membership in the Association of Psychology of the French Language . Metzger’s legacy is carried out in the Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications (GTA) , an international multidisciplinary organization, from which he was honorary chairman.


  1. Jump up^ Bruder-Bezzel Almuth, Geschichte der Individualpsychologie. Fischer-TB.-Vlg. (1996),ISBN 3-596-10793-8, pg. 240